The phrase is self explanatory, it describes a person who “appears” to be a friend, but in reality is not. It’s an oxymoron that goes back to Shakespeare’s play, Richard III, that I read in college.
Your grace attended to their sugar'd words,
But look'd not on the poison of their hearts :
God keep you from them, and from such false friends!
I consider a person a false friend when they show themselves to be deliberately dishonest in any way, lie, or betray a trust. False friends are worse than enemies because you are open and trust them, whereas you are guarded with enemies.
When someone proves to me they were never really a friend, I feel like I have been made a fool of throughout the relationship and I do not hesitate to cut that person off. It’s justified in my opinion.
The social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook encourage us to make new friends and to give them access to our personal information. You can get online and instantly chat with a number of people 24 hours a day. But many people are not what they seem and eventually the truth comes out. Out of all the long lists of friends people have on their page, only a rare few are actually genuine friends, the rest are comparable to acquaintances or people you run into on the street. It’s really becoming a dangerous trend to collect virtual strangers and expose yourself, family and friends to them.
I have my settings all set to “friends only,” but there are still ways people can get around this if they are devious enough. In any case, this concept has now given me pause to think and reconsider those I have on my “friend” list. It’s time to weed out those that I do not interact with, keep the ones I am sure of, and be very selective of who I accept in the future. You may want to consider doing that too.